We arrived at the saddle of Timp and looked over the valley below, a valley covered half by a lake, half buy houses and blanketed in a cloud of smog. It’s impressive to see all than humans have built, the roads, houses, water storage tanks, and parks all designed to direct us from one place to another, protect us, feed us, and help us relax. Each of these things has a purpose, they are there because man wants them to be. Even mighty mountains are amended or moved if mankind sees them as an obstacle and that scares me.
After a few short minutes of looking over the valley we ban the next phase of the ascent the steep part as I’ve always called it, the part that can cause your already wobbly legs to shake a little more. This section was a breeze fort the pups as they easily maneuvered up and through the steep scramble. My friend made easy movements and made it up easily too, I trembled and my feet wobbled as I took each step. I climbed with confidence as I went but at the back of my mind I was chanting legs don’t fail me now. After we were through this tight steep section of the climb I fe;lt relief but the real push to the summit had just begun.
The last half mile to the summit is actually a fairly easy stretch for most who have made it this far, you can see the shed at the top and you know that a place to rest with a beautiful view is just half a mile away. My legs were tired, my will was growing weaker by the minute, but my heart was still set on summiting so I began a slow process one step at a time to the summit with needed breaks a little more often than I would have liked, yet after some time I made it. I had completed the task we had set out on to have a great adventure and reach the top of Mount Timpanogos.
What a feeling that was to stand again at what felt like was the top of the world, being able to see miles all around me of life in that area, the natural places, and just being in that moment happy that I had made it. We had made it together four human feet and eight dog paws had followed the trail to the summit and were now resting together eating and rehydrating for a bit as we took in the moments from 11,752′.
Good friends who go on adventures with you are always great, a friend who encourages you to push a little outside of your comfort zone are the greatest. These are the friends who will help you grow the most. My friend had encouraged me throughout the journey to keep moving, smile a little and soak up the exceptional moments of beauty as we climbed.
We arrived at the Timpooneke trailhead at half-past seven ready to start our trek to the higher elevation. Our dogs jumped out of the car with eager paws and noses ready to trot their way through the forest smelling every scent they might cross. As we began my muscles felt tired and slow, stretching a little along the way. Around one mile up we stopped and stretched and things started feeling a bit less rusty and a little more fluid with each step I took up the trail.
It’s funny how you believe you are in great physical shape till you do something that you do not usually do. I personally know I am not in the best shape but I hike often yet have found myself a little heavier than I have been, a little weaker, and a little more out of breath on this hike than I would have liked. As my legs trembled and my lungs ached I chatted with my friend about life, it’s ups and downs, and the outcomes of decisions made and yet to be had.
One thing that makes sense to me is hiking, no matter the pain, the conversations, or the views I see hiking makes sense to me. As we traveled up the trail we’d cross snowfields of various sizes that our dogs would eagerly relax and play in as they loved the cooling feeling of the snow on their paws and as they roll around aside from the beauty around and the conversations with my friend watching the dogs play was what kept me entertained when my feet didn’t want to move any further.
As all adventures go we pressed on at a good pace winding through the trees and the switchbacks, feeling the sun on our necks, the wind in our hair, and seeing the beauty that was created a little at a time over thousands of years. I always fail to forget how beautiful the hike up Timpanogos is with its overlook of the valleys and mountains to the north and sense of wilderness to the south as you hike towards the summit one step at a time.
My friend messaged me asking what my plan was for Monday because it had been far too long since we had been on an adventure. I looked at the day ahead and having nothing on the calendar besides time with my dog and dinner with my wife after she was finished at work I gladly accepted the invitation to get out on an adventure and start the week out right.
We talked through a couple of ideas such as hiking with our dofs to the granddaddy lakes region in the High Uintas, heading to the summit of Ben Lomond Peak, or hiking around the Mount Timpanogos Wilderness and possibly summiting the peak. We settled on hiking Timpanogos as it was the closest option and the least amount of driving, agreeing to meet at 6:30 am the following morning and set out for a day of hiking, beautiful views and conversation.
Although I was looking forward to the day ahead I was uncertain about my ability to gracefully climb the 4,390 feet to the summit as I have not been as active this year as I have been in past years. I have summited this mountain twice before and both times I was in better shape physically and probably a little more mentally strong as far as hiking in high elevations goes. I committed myself to a day of fun on the mountain and accepted that there would be a struggle as I went but one that I needed and looked forward to.
As I prepared myself the next morning for the climb I casually stashed 4 liters of water for my dog and I along with two energy bars for me and variety of snacks and food for my four legged friend. My thought was to pack for a climb that could be classified as light and fast but still carry the needed gear in case of unexpected weather I added a waterproof windbreaker and a merino wool sweater for just in case.
My friend arrived shortly before 6:30 am and our adventure of the day began as two climbers and their adventure pups were bound for the wilderness and possibly summit of Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch range.
Part 1 of 4
This past weekend I went home for about twenty-four hours and visited my family. It was a quick visit and one that was needed, nothing recharges my battery more than a quick trip home to the farm and the town just west of it. I grew up in a small farming community in central Utah that hasn’t changed much over the past few decades. It retains the same feeling for me when I think about it, Home.
I’d never say that my hometown is perfect it’s been riddled with its fair share of trouble and controversy over the years but who’s hometown doesn’t have its own quirks and problems. This is the place where I experienced many firsts and many lasts, where I learned not to steal, and the value of a reputation. This is the community that could come together in the blink of an eye when tragedy struck, and one that will pull out the fire trucks to welcome state champion athletes back into town anytime day or night. A community surrounded by folks who were always willing to lend one another a hand as needed.
A wonderful place to have been raised and taught how to do so many things at different times growing up I was a pizza maker, grocery bagger, shelf re-stocker, assistant to youth with disabilities, a farmer, a rancher, and best of all a teenager. Living in our small community was a challenge at times too, I was thirty minutes from the nearest TacoBell, Mcdonald’s, and Walmart. An hour from the nearest mall, two hours from the nearest airport, and another hour from the nearest ski resort.
When we were bored we had to decide what to do, we usually ended creating our own fun skating around town, running around the foothills, or getting together at a friends house for movies and games. If we had a bit of extra pocket money and permission we’d jump into a car and head to Walmart or the mall just to stroll around and look for more fun to be had. If we couldn’t keep ourselves busy someone always knew work that needed to be done at someone’s house or farm so work was another alternative. What a place to be a teenager.
I love my hometown. It’s quiet, you can see the stars, the mountains aren’t that far away, and people are generally nice to each other. I loved being raised in the middle of nowhere and love driving there to this day. I love knowing the people I do and the impact they had on my life, because of the size of our community you got to know so many people and often had the opportunity to learn from them if you took the chance.
My hometown rocks.